White House launches hotline for free COVID tests as omicron drives demand

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WASHINGTON (NBC) — The Biden administration is launching a phone line Friday for people to order free COVID-19 tests, a senior White House policy adviser said, expanding availability to people who may not have internet access.

The hotline is scheduled to go live at 8 a.m., and households can call 800-232-0233 to request up to four free tests. It will complement the federally run COVIDtests.gov website, which launched Tuesday and is meant to provide better access to testing for communities that have had higher coronavirus infection rates than the rest of the country.

“We’ve just seen the disproportionate impact on certain communities,” Dr. Cameron Webb, who advises President Joe Biden’s COVID response team on equity, said in an interview. “The harder-hit communities have borne the brunt and most difficult aspects of this pandemic.”

The phone line will offer services in English, Spanish and 150 other languages. Orders can be placed from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.